Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Fennel & corriander roast leg of pork and how to make gravy

I absolutely love Sunday roast. This was one of those things I fell in love with when I first came to UK. This dinner just seems perfect to me: selection of roast meat, roast potatoes (preferably in goose or duck fat), veg and gravy. Oh yes, and my favourite bit – Yorkshire pudding that I can use to wipe a plate clean.

Today I show you my favourite roast pork. I think those that I found in the pubs so far were slightly too plain, I like it with a hint of spices and herbs. Sometimes I let myself go on a wild side and have some pork crackling as well (wink, wink!). 100% cholesterol, but sooo tasty!

I have to say I am terrified by the amount of gravy granules or other instant gravy that people buy in supermarkets. There is nothing easier than to make tasty, homemade gravy in no time, while the meat is resting. Is this laziness? Is this lack of knowledge? I don’t know, but it made me prepare a photo tutorial, how to make gravy in few easy steps.

Talking about the lack of knowledge I remember once when we went to one of the local pubs and one of the members of the staff who happened to be Polish warned us that under no circumstances we should go for this dark sauce that it is served with the roast meat, because chef makes it using all burn bits of meat and veg leftovers from roasting. [sic!] Do you find this not funny at all? Then you should definitely read the recipe below and then read this paragraph again. 

I hope you will enjoy it, as much as I enjoyed homemade Sunday roast (I will show all the trimming another time…) 

Serves 6-8

about 1.8 leg of pork, boned and rolled
few tbsp olive oil
1 tsp of fennel seeds, lightly crushed in a mortar
1 tsp of coriander seeds, lightly crushed in a mortar
1 tsp of dried thyme
freshly ground black pepper
2 carrots, cut into big chunks (no need to peel, just wash them thoroughly)
2 parsnips, as above
2 pieces of celery, cut into big chunks
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 onions, unpeeled, quartered
bay leaf

Heat the oven to 230 C.

In an ovenproof dish arrange all the veg.

Score the pork skin in about 1cm intervals (unless your butcher did it for you already). Rub in the oil and then all the spices and herbs, as well as salt and pepper. Place the meat on the top pf the veg.

Place in the oven and leave it for about 20-30 minutes until the skin starts to crack. Then turn the heat down to 180 C. If I roast pork with the fat and skin on I roast it for about 20 minutes in hot oven and then turn the heat down and roast it 20 minutes for every 400g of meat. If it has a bone I add extra 20 minutes. Therefore this piece of meat spent 1h 40 minutes in the oven.

Take a look few time and when the veg seem a bit dry or start to burn add little splash of water. (not on the meat)

When ready remove from the oven and set on a chopping board. Remove the string and carefully lift the fat and the skin. Remove the fat and discard, and set the skin on a baking tray. Turn the heat back to 220 C and place it in the oven.

Cover the meat loosely with some tin foil and leave it to rest. Prepare the gravy.

Extras for gravy

2 tbsp plain flour
a good splash of dry sherry, dry white or red wine
about 1l vegetable or chicken stock
freshly ground black pepper

To prepare the gravy first get rid of any excess of fat from a roasting tin. Place it on a hob over a medium heat. Add the four and stir – do not worry if it goes bit clumpy, you will sieve it later. Keep it on the heat and stir for about 1 minute, then add the splash of alcohol (it will evaporate, but you can skip it if you wish to do so, however it gives the gravy an extra flavour) and then warm stock. Stir and let it bubble.

Then using a potato masher press the veg firmly. Try to mash them to get as much flavour as possible out of them. Boil for about 5 minutes.

Next sieve it using a fine sieve or cheesecloth. Season with salt and pepper and let it boil until it thickens to your likeness.  I also add the juices released by the resting meat.

I often add my secret (not anymore, sic!) ingredient – redcurrant or mint jelly (about tsp of it). I did not have it this time, but a pinch of sugar does the trick as well.

In this time meat should be ready for carving and the pork cracking should be nice and crispy. I also prepare veg and potatoes while the meat is roasting. I will write about this another time.     

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